A group of poachers entered the zoo and hacked a Royal Bengal tigress to death, said sources.
The incident at the Itanagar zoo-cum-botanical garden took place on Sunday, Sept 23 between 8 pm and 9 pm when three guards were out for dinner, added sources. The fourth guard was said to be on leave.
The killing of the tigress by poachers was nothing less than horrific.
Zoo officials said the tigress was first shot in the forehead. Later the miscreants chopped off its abdomen before fleeing from the spot. Two empty cases were recovered from its skull during autopsy on Tuesday.
Zoo officials are saying the miscreants took advantage of the absence of guards.
But many are questioning as how could poachers enter inside a highly secured area like a zoo.
"Its a tragic day for us. We have lost one of our most loved animals in the zoo," rued R Ringu, deputy chief conservator of forest (wildlife). "They probably came to hunt a tiger, but killed a tigress by mistake," added Ringu.
A tiger's vital organs are in great demand globally and can fetch up to $50,000 in the international black market.
Although officials are claiming to take severe action against the culprits, however, so far, no arrests are being made in the case. The slain animal, Oni, was one of the six tigers at the zoo. Oni was born in the zoo in 2006.
Itanagar Zoo was established in 1987. The zoo is located around 8-km away from the city. The zoo is spread over 250-hectare-land.